[mailhist-discuss] Beginning to record the timeline: a very rough draft

Dave Crocker dcrocker at gmail.com
Fri May 11 08:07:32 PDT 2012

On 5/11/2012 7:52 AM, John Vittal wrote:
> My initial reaction is that I think that the "when" column needs some
> more information, or (at least) two columns (e.g. when developed, when
> put into service, when publicly released).
> For example, MSG was developed in 1974.  My friends at ISI, PARC, and
> Arpa were using it then.  But, it was "announced" to the "public" via
> MSGGROUP in 1975.
> Also, for example, 733 was released in 1977, but its development started
> in 1975

John's highlighted an inherent challenge in an exercise like this.

My own view is that and entry should have only a single date, for 
simplicity.  To the extent that more detail is helpful, we should cite a 
document providing it.  The chart is already larger than one might wish 
for and I think we need to strive for as much simplicity as we can get 
away with.

Unlike intellectual property legal debates, we can afford to be 
approximate.  The date chosen matters, and we need to be clear about the 
meaning of a date, but I think we should make our lives and the effort 
of readers as easy as we can while still being useful.

Here's my own current thought on what specific action should inform the 
date we provide:

    *  Invention -- first demonstration.

       An implementation made a capability real.

    *  Standard --  initial publication

       The details were stable and had relevant consensus.

    *  Commercial -- initial release

       The product or service was real and the company committed to
       its use.

As John's note makes clear, these dates come potentially long after the 
investment began.  At a minimum this distinguishes between first having 
an idea versus later having a capability.

We can slice this up many ways.  What do the rest of you think?

  Dave Crocker

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